Soon in tunes: Joe Nichols, April 8 at the Walton Arts Center

April 8th, 2014 at 1:17 pm

Joe Nichols

Joe Nichols

Country musician Joe Nichols started his career more than a decade ago. He’s renewed it with the recent success of the song “Sunny and 75.” The Rogers-born musician will return to the area for a Tuesday night (April 8) show at the Walton Arts Center. The concert serves as a fundraiser for the Washington Regional Foundation. Admission to the 7:30 p.m. event with musical guest Backroad Anthem is $75. Tickets are available by calling 443-5600 or via

Two days of the blues

April 7th, 2014 at 11:15 am

I caught the blues this weekend.

This was an intentional act.

The Blues in the Natural State Festival took over Dickson Street on Friday and Saturday (April 4-5). In the process, more than a dozen blues artists performed at venues such as 324 Ballroom, Smoke & Barrel Tavern and George’s Majestic Lounge.

I didn’t catch it all, but I watched substantial portions of many of the sets. Here are a few mini-reports:

Earl and Them brought out a crowd for the George’s Happy Hour set on Friday evening. A vehicle for guitar wonder and longtime Northwest Arkansas music scene favorite Earl Cate, the band for a while brought out David Renko, further blurring the line between Earl & Them and Cate’s better-known (but semi-retired) group The Cate Brothers Band (more on them later).

• Young guitar slinger Samantha Fish is a dynamo. Fish, still in her mid-20s, played a mix of her own songs and interesting covers such as Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” and the Townes Van Zandt (via The Rolling Stones) version of “Dead Flowers.” She can hold her own with guitarists twice or three times her age.

• Closing the first evening’s festivities were the Royal Southern Brotherhood. I didn’t catch all the set, but the band members traded vocals and licks between songs. I understand Devon Allman (son of Allman Brothers vocalist Gregg Allman) played “No Way Out” not long after I left. That would have been cool.

• Sadly, I was forced to miss several of the early afternoon shows. I understand that Lucious Spiller, particularly, was good.

• I picked up blues watching with Leah and the Mojo Doctors at Smoke & Barrel. The Mojos are a versatile bunch, but they lean toward the blues for occasions such as this. That works in their favor when they take pop or folk songs such as Ray LaMontagne’s “Three More Days” and give them a blues treatment.

• I just missed the shows by RJ Mischo and only caught a smattering of Jigsaw Mud. But I did catch the entirety of the set by The Cate Brothers Band. What was true about them in the near past remains true today — Earl and Ernie Cate work well together onstage. And Terry Cagle sounds so much like his uncle Levon.

That’s what I saw. Anyone else catch some blues this weekend?

Get some blues. In Arkansas.

April 4th, 2014 at 12:27 pm

Royal Southern Brotherhood

Royal Southern Brotherhood

If you can’t find blues music this weekend in Fayetteville, you aren’t trying hard enough.

The annual Blues in the Natural State festival continues from this afternoon (April 4) through the early morning hours of Sunday (April 6).

During the process, dozens of performance will take place at various host venues such as George’s Majestic Lounge, Smoke & Barrel Tavern and the 324 Ballroom.

Headliners include the Royal Southern Brotherhood, Tab Benoit, The Cate Brothers Band and more.

Tickets for each day’s performances are $25 at the door, and the tickets, which are exchanged for all-access wristbands, can be picked up at George’s.

The schedule looks like this:


Today (April 4)

6-8 p.m. — Earl & Them, George’s Majestic Lounge

7-9 p.m. — Isayah’s Allstars, George’s

9 p.m. — Samatha Fish, George’s

10:30 p.m. — Royal Southern Brotherhood, George’s

Saturday (April 5)

4 p.m. — Lucious Spiller, 324 Ballroom

4:30 p.m. — Levee Town, Smoke & Barrel Tavern

5:15 p.m. — Little Joe McLerran, 324 Ballroom

6 p.m. — Leah & The Mojo Doctors, Smoke & Barrel Tavern

6 p.m. — The Downtown Livewires, George’s

6:30 p.m. — Ray Bonneville, 324 Ballroom

7 p.m. — RJ Mischo and his Red Hot Blues Band, George’s

7:30 p.m. — Jigsaw Mud, George’s

8:30 p.m. — The Cate Brothers, George’s

10 p.m. — Tab Benoit, George’s

Midnight — Steve Pryor, George’s

See you at some of the shows.

The weekend in live music, with Elephant Revival and more

April 4th, 2014 at 5:03 am

Elephant Revival

Elephant Revival

Welcome to the weekend. Nice to see you here.

Shall we begin with the watching of some live music?

A frequent guest in Northwest Arkansas has two local gigs taking place in short order. Colorado band and Americana outfit Elephant Revival will perform at 8:30 p.m. Sunday (April 6) at George’s Majestic Lounge with guests Smokey and The Mirror. Admission is $15 and available through Elephant Revival will come back later this month for a party at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art on April 26. Details about that concert can be found via

It’s also a busy weekend courtesy of the Blues in the Natural State Festival. Some of yesterday’s events got postponed or canceled, but the festival roars back to life today (April 4) with many sets by many artists in many locations. We’ll update you on it later today, and then throughout the weekend.

Also taking place this weekend is the Grits & Glamour Tour featuring Pam Tillis and Lorrie Morgan. The two country music artists will converge for a free show tonight at Cherokee Casino in West Siloam Springs, Okla. It begins at 10:30 p.m.

Elsewhere, the first show of the live music season at Neumeier’s Rib Room takes place Saturday (April 5) with a performance by Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers. It’s an early show — 5:30 p.m. — and admission is $25.

What’s on your weekend agenda?

Soon in tunes: Myla Smith, April 3 at Smoke & Barrel

April 2nd, 2014 at 1:17 pm

Myla Smith

Myla Smith

Pop and folk practitioner Myla Smith’s tour in support of her new album “Hiding Places” will bring her to Fayetteville for a set with two other songwriters. Smith, who has earned comparisons to Patty Griffin and Sara Bareilles, will perform on Thursday (April 3) at Smoke & Barrel Tavern. She’s recently opened for Quiet Company and Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors, but for her new tour, she’ll be joined by guests Chris Milam and Heather Batchelor. Admission is free. The show begins at 10:30 p.m.

AMP announces three new shows

April 1st, 2014 at 10:17 am

YouTube Preview Image

No joke. Steve Miller Band is coming to Northwest Arkansas on Sept. 27.

While showing off the progress being made at the Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion in Rogers, officials also dropped three new names for the summer concert series there.

All of them are classic rock acts of some acclaim.

Coming here are:

Boston on Aug. 15

Foreigner on Aug. 29

Steve Miller Band on Sept. 27

The latter of the three acts will visit during Bikes, Blues & BBQ, which means it should be a very large draw.

My colleague Christie Swanson has some more details from Monday’s event at the AMP. Catch her story here [Note: Subscriber content]

No word on ticket prices or on sale dates. We’ll update you.

My (brief) tour of the Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion

March 31st, 2014 at 5:20 pm

Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion construction as witness from the stage. Photo by KEVIN KINDER, NWA Media.

Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion construction as viewed from the stage. Image by KEVIN KINDER, NWA Media.

Admittedly, there’s a lot of work still to be done at the Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion in Rogers. Construction started late last year, and efforts continue to get the building ready by the first of June.

Donors — and members of the press corp — were allowed on the site today (March 31) for a preview and to watch the installation of the ceremonial final beam. During several brief speeches, venue officials promised the venue would be ready by June 1. The first concert is scheduled to be a few weeks after that, with Darius Rucker and Pat Green set for June 20.

There wasn’t much of an actual tour today, but I took some pictures and scoped out the site as best I could. If you look at the panoramic image above, you’ll notice two distinct sections. The gravel area nearest the stage — I took the image from the lip of the stage, looking out to where the crowd will be seated — will cover 35,000 square feet. Workers will install 3,000 seats in that area.

Farther back, what is now the clay berm will turn into the general admission area. More than 4,000 fans can occupy that area during concerts.

Much of the concrete has already been poured. On Monday, crews were working to install the final two overhead coverings and looked to be at work on the area where I suspect much of the sound equipment will reside.

I know there’s much to do. It’s impressive to see how much as already been done.

Rib Room adds several shows to 2014 calendar

March 28th, 2014 at 3:17 pm

YouTube Preview Image

Blackberry Smoke, heir apparent to the Southern rock throne once occupied by The Black Crowes, are intent on “Shakin’ Hands with the Holy Ghost.” They just played live in Fayetteville; see them May 29 in Fort Smith.

In the past few years, Neumeier’s Rib Room in Fort Smith has transformed from a restaurant with music to a full-time music venue with occasional food to an occasional music venue with bigger-named talent.

The trends seems to continue as the venue has rolled out several new shows for its 2014 season.

Among them are:

Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers, April 5

The Mallett Brothers Band, April 12

Black Star Riders, May 5

Blackberry Smoke, May 29

And several others. More acts are expected to be named as the season continues. Tickets are available through the venue’s website.

The weekend in live music, with Pagiins and more

March 28th, 2014 at 5:03 am



It’s the last weekend of Spring Break for Arkansas schools. That includes the University of Arkansas, and who knows where the students are right now? They aren’t in Fayetteville — my drive to and from work has taken a lot less time this week.

If you want a little less chaotic Dickson Street experience, this is probably your weekend. So, how about some live music suggestions?

Northwest Arkansas group Pagiins — pronounced “pagans” — is making a name for itself on the national indie rock scene. The band just got back from South by Southwest and is going on a national tour with fellow rockers Sleeper Agent and Holy Child. Evoking sounds from West Coast rock to Pavement to Creedence Clearwater Revival, the quintet will play a hometown show tonight (March 28) at the Lightbulb Club in Fayetteville. Admission is $5, and the show starts at 10 p.m. Resin Hands will also perform.

Also tonight is an international guitar star.

Acoustic guitarist extraordinaire Beppe Gambetta will return to Fayetteville for a show tonight. A frequent guest at the former GoodFolk House concert series, Gambetta will bring his show to the Fayetteville Underground community space on the downtown square. Gambetta is Italian, but he’s spent much time touring the states and released “The American Album” in September. His show begins at 7:30 p.m. today, and admission is $15.

Elsewhere, Austin, Texas-based Graham Wilkinson will play a free show tonight at George’s Majestic Lounge alongside his friend and Fayetteville resident Sarah Hughes. The show begins about 9 p.m.

A full calendar of gigs exists on the home page of this blog.

Plan to catch something this weekend?

On the way — Afroman, April 20 at George’s Majestic Lounge

March 26th, 2014 at 12:11 pm

YouTube Preview Image

Afroman sings about marijuana. I’m certain it’s a coincidence he’s playing George’s Majestic Lounge on 4/20.

Why is Afroman playing George’s Majestic Lounge again? The answer may be contained in the video above.

The Grammy-nominated rapper, guitarist and vocalist Afroman will return to the Fayetteville venue on April 20.

Tickets to the 9 p.m. show with guest Purp Loder are on sale now. The price is $15.